"The day that looked great for scootering turned out to be exactly that, great for scootering. Covered just on 300km home to home and had a ball. Picked some interesting roads I knew from Rally NZ days including Klondyke Road near Onewhero. Rally people will know this one and it isn't gentle gravel with logging trucks working in the area.
Two of us started with coffee in Tuakau before heading out, lunch at the Pukeko Nest at Maramarua and we went our separate ways at Kaihere on SH 27 after a really enjoyable ride. I said at lunch that a year ago I would not have ventured on to those gravel roads, but have some more confidence now."
So, home for me is near Hamilton NZ, and my riding companion came south from Auckland. We met at the little town of Tuakau, a rural service town near the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest. The coffee wasn't superb but was perfectly drinkable as we planned our first part of the route. We decided to head towards Port Waikato, a sleepy enclave near the mouth of the Waikato River. Before getting there we turned left on to Klondyke Road. This is an unsealed road that currently has logging operations happening along its length and the road is taking a pounding from the heavy traffic. This is a narrow rural road that serves probably half a dozen farms in about 13 or 14km. The western end is relatively steep before reaching the summit and some of the drop offs are dramatic. Wrong moves are NOT recommended. Coming down the other side is a little better, but some corners were still heavily metalled so extreme care is needed. Note to self during this, modern CVT scoots have no engine braking when the clutch disengages because the throttle is closed and you are going quite slowly. We re-emerged on to a sealed road and conferred again at the next intersection. Our next chapter was to run down through Onewhero back downhill towards the Waikato River, then turn south and run parallel until Mercer Landing Road which took us to the Mercer Bridge. A quick stop here and I took over leading as we headed to Mangatawhiri and Maramarua where the PX needed refuelling and we took in some lunch at a little café called Pukeko Nest. Now a Pukeko is assumed to be a native here, but I suspect every country has one, a blue bird a bit bigger than a domestic hen with red beak and legs; oh, and pretty stupid. However, they make great creatures to caricature in sketches or pottery so are popular for crafters. We then headed south into a forest area before finally climbing over a low range of hills, more gravel, and down to a non settlement called Kaihere. Here we went our separate ways, me back to Hamilton, my companion back to Auckland, both of us using less than main roads to avoid the crazies.
A great day out with a like minded companion enjoying our scooters and the magnificent country we live in.
Lone scooter in the main street of Tuakau.
Maori carving on representative whare frontage. (Sorry, this doesn't do this cultural justice, but is is a significant part of the local culture).
The local Tuakau Memorial Hall with lovely rainbow fence of local play centre.
Driving aid mirror on tight bend showing the west coast near the mouth of the Waikato River and the glorious blue sky.
View of west coast from almost the summit of Klondyke Road - gravel all the way up, and all the way down the other side.
Waikato River at Mercer.
Trusty steeds at lunch stop.
Planning our next move at church near Waeranga.
Last photo before heading over the hill to go from Waikato District to Hauraki District. Again, gravel to be negotiated.